Written by Julen Madariaga on June 29th, 2009


So guess what now:  I am blocked.

I am banned, prohibited, harmonized, river-crabbed. Censored, in short, by the Great FireWall of China. If you are reading my blog now and have not noticed anything strange, it is because either:

1- You are reading the blog from outside China and therefore you are not going through the GFW (Chinayouren is hosted outside China, you are on the same side of the Wall). Or else,  2- You are reading this from mainland China and you are using some means to connect anonymously and pass through the wall. Most probably a web proxy or  VPN, which is what I am using now.

So, just to get this clear: my website works normally, there is no change at all in the blog itself, since the server is out of the reach of Chinese authorities. The only thing that is happening here is that the GFW is preventing users in China to access my domain. You can read more on how this works here.

I knew this was bound to happen some day, and I though it would be funny, and it would make me proud in a way, because not every blog is important enough to be censored. But no, it is not funny at all. Although I can easily connect and write using my VPN, the 50% of my readers that are based in China can not (actually they can, but they will not bother, I know this very well because I have been in that situation before and I also got lazy with blocked blogs).

There is an added point that makes the GFW censorship extremely annoying: it does not officially exist.This means that there is nowhere I can go to complain, and if I do find my way to the relevant government office, nobody will admit to having blocked my content. And what is worse, I have no idea of how long it will last, which makes it very difficult to find a solution. Because if I spend the time and money to move to a different host, I have no guarantee that I won’t be blocked there the very same week. Or worse still, that the censors decide to unblock my original site just when I had paid the fee for the new host.

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Comments so far ↓

  1. Jun


    You can go to the censor office at 9 Dongdajie, Qianmen, Beijing to make a complaint.

    Or you can sue the censor office in Beijing. Recently an activist Mr. Hu Xingdou sued his ISP for harmonising his blog. A Beijing judge handed him a victory. You will make a new history by suing the censor office itself.

    You don’t know what can be done if you don’t try. The good old Chinese saying is “babies who cry get candies” - there is a reason why Chinese people take to the street so often.

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Jun

    river-crabbed …

    I pay for my internet connection and also for my VPN.

    [Reply to this comment]

    uln Reply:

    Same here, I started paying for Witopia VPN last winter and it goes really smooth. The only problem is when I write from the office (yeah I do that sometimes) and I am not allowed to run VPNs there…

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Jun

    @oiasunset - Yes, thanks for the info, I saw you wrote that as well on the PKD blog. You are right that it would be an interesting experience to sue, or at least file a complaint.

    Unfortunately I am in a situation where I don’t want to risk problems to renew my residence permit. This would cause harm not only to myself - I would hate to leave China now - but also to other people that work with me.

    Sometimes I feel that by writing this humble blog I am already risking way too much.

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Jul
    Elliott Ng

    Sorry to hear about the block. What do you think caused it? Your series explaining internet censorship? (I appreciated this series and found it to be clear and well written).

    [Reply to this comment]

  5. Jul

    Hi Elliot. Actually I think it was the series of posts on Chrter 08, and in particular one of them that got absurdly popular due to a series of misunderstandings… somebody thought I was a hero fighting for freedom, and the censors apparently believed it.

    I write a bit more about this in the post after this one. Also I might write something more these days.

    Chrter 08 was a VERY sensitive subject, way more than Green Dam and the internet censorship is now.

    [Reply to this comment]

  6. Jul
    Yin Bin

    I am sorry that your site is blocked. Internet censorship is so frustrating and evil!

    [Reply to this comment]

  7. Jul

    goole 自由门
    find workable downloads
    here i am

    3 steps

    [Reply to this comment]

  8. Aug
    Michael David


    Just found your blog on Technorati & Digg upcomming news feeds and read a few of your other posts.
    ISeems good contents,Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.


    [Reply to this comment]

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